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TSMC expansion unaffected by artifacts rescue plan

2012/04/15 18:10:49

Taipei, April 15 (CNA) Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) will continue building a new manufacturing facility for leading-edge technologies in Tainan but may adjust its location after having discovered what may be an archaeological site at the intended factory base.

The world's largest contract chip maker said April 9 that it had found a pottery shell at the construction site of its Fab 14 Phase 5 manufacturing complex in the Southern Taiwan Science Park.

The company said it has asked authorities in Tainan to help identify whether the shell is an archaeological artifact, fearing that there might be more relics deeper underground.

"If there is an archaeological site underground, we will move our construction to the nearby phase 6 base. If there is not, we will continue our construction at the phase 5 base," TSMC spokeswoman Elizabeth Sun told CNA by telephone recently.

"Even if there is another archaeological site under the phase 6 base, we still have planned bases for phase 7 and 8 as back-ups," she said.

Lin Wei-hsu, director of the Tainan Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage, said he received the shell on April 2 and then held a committee meeting on April 6 to study the object.

The shell was preliminarily identified as a relic from the Niuchoutzu Culture period, which existed 3,300 to 4,200 years ago, he said.

"The cultural layer seemed to extend only 6 meters underground, so we will ask TSMC to dig 5.5 meters deep, allowing us to dig out the artifacts first," Lin said.

"Once we've collected all of the items from the archaeological site, TSMC will be able to continue digging to 10 meters as it originally planned for the project," he said.

Known as the third-largest "Silicon Valley" in Taiwan, the Southern Taiwan Science Park is situated in the Sinshin, Shanhua and Anding districts in Tainan and has an area of 2,471 acres, according to the park administration bureau.

Because it is part of the Chianan Plain and sits between the Tsengwen and Yenshui rivers, archaeological sites there are buried deep underground and are not easy to find, the bureau said.

Since 1995, some 66 archaeological sites have been found in the park, with excavations conducted at 31 sites and the others kept intact as natural landscapes, it added.

The artifacts in the park yielded from these sites date back 200 years to 4,800 years and have been chronologically divided into six phases.

They are the Tapenkeng Culture (4,200-4,800 before present), the Niuchoutzu Culture (4,200-3,300 B.P.), the Tahu Culture (3,300-1,800 B.P.), the Niansung Culture (1,800-500 B.P.), the Siraya Culture (500-300 B.P.) and the Recent Han Culture (300 B.P. to present).

(By Jeffrey Wu)